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  • Writer's pictureShirley

Are you going to have to pay to dispose of used cardboard?

Cardboard and Paper recycling has been going for 100 years but rarely have prices been so weak.

The value of used cardboard is now at its lowest level since the 1980s with some waste management companies are looking to impose transport and tonnage collection charges.

The market situation worsened in December with prices falling to £10 per tonne or less.

The reason for the slump in value is three fold:

1. A lack of demand.

2. A lack of re-processing capability from the domestic market.

3. Quota restrictions imposed by China.

China have cut allocations this year from 28 million tonnes to 12 million tonnes, with plans to cut this further, to just six million tonnes next year.

In the past most cardboard was made from used material in a recycling process, but China is compounding the problem by choosing to use virgin pulp from countries such as Russia, Canada and South America.

The UK Recycling Association have argued that the World Trade Organization should step in and require China to take back an appropriate volume of cardboard for recycling, cardboard which it has put onto the market in the form of packaging. However, so far no progress has been made…

The big message for now is that in the current market producers of material – from small shops through to large manufacturing businesses, will probably have to pay to have their cardboard taken away. Although there is an appreciation from recycling businesses of the sensitivity of charging for cardboard and paper, the simple economics are that without it material cannot be collected.

If you want to know more about the market dynamics driving the issues surrounding cardboard recycling or talk to us about waste management issues please get in touch.


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